Bayern Munich got off to the perfect start on the opening night of the Champions League, recording a comfortable 3-0 victory over a 10-man Anderlecht at the Allianz Arena.
An early penalty for a foul committed by Anderlecht’s Sven Kums resulted in a red card for the defender and a Robert Lewandowski goal. Second-half strikes from Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich rounded off a good night’s work for the Bundesliga champions.
The result means Bayern are in second place in Group B, with Paris Saint-Germain comfortably beating Celtic 5-0 in Glasgow in the group’s other fixture this evening.
Following team news that James Rodriguez, on-loan from Real Madrid, was starting for Bayern for the first time, the Germans started with a point to prove following their shock 2-0 loss to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga at the weekend.
The key moment of the game came in the 10th minute. A delightful through ball by Corentin Tollisso put Robert Lewandowski through on goal, and Anderlecht defender Sven Kums hauled him down in the box. A penalty was awarded, and Kums was sent-off.
Lewandowksi coolly converted the spot-kick to give the Bavarians a lead they took into half-time, following spurned opportunities by Rodriguez, Javi Martinez and Arjen Robben as well as resolute Anderlecht defending.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti would have been keen for an improved second-half performance, and he got his wish. Thiago Alcantara took advantage of a pinpoint Josh Kimmich cross to side-foot Bayern into a two-goal lead in the 65th minute, and Kimmich himself got on the score sheet in stoppage time, rounding the keeper and slotting home beautifully after a Jerome Boateng pass.
The 3-0 score gave a nice gloss to the result for Bayern, whose dominance certainly warranted a three-goal margin of victory, despite sluggishness in possession. For Anderlecht, their spirited defensive performance, playing for 80 minutes with 10 men, gives them hope in a group which is likely to see the Belgian champions and Celtic battling it out for third-place behind Bayern and PSG.
Bayern next face PSG away from home in what may well be a crucial game for deciding who finishes in top-spot, whilst Anderlecht host Celtic in Matchday two.